Camunda, aka: Cāmuṇḍā; 16 Definition(s)


Camunda means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

Alternative spellings of this word include Chamunda.

In Hinduism

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

1) Cāmūṇḍā (चामूण्डा) is an epithet of Kālī but used to invoke the goddess Durgā in her warrior mode during tantric rituals. Like Kālī, she is worshipped in a circuit (āvaraṇa) of ferocious female deities. Sacrifices are made to appease each of the directions where these deities hover. The identity of the goddess transforms at this stage of the rite, so that her willful and untameable properties start to take over.

2) Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा):—Name of one of the sixty-four mātṛs to be worshipped during Āvaraṇapūjā (“Worship of the Circuit of Goddesses”, or “Durgā’s Retinue”), according to the Durgāpūjātattva. They should be worshipped with either the five upācāras or perfume and flowers.

Her mantra is as follows:

ॐ चामुण्डायै नमः
oṃ cāmuṇḍāyai namaḥ.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism

Camunda refers to one of the seven mother-like goddesses (Matrika).—Camunda represents the principal feminine force. The order of the Saptamatrka usually begins with Brahmi symbolizing creation. Then, Vaishnavi, Maheshvari, Kaumari, Varahi and Indrani. Then, Camunda is the destroyer of delusions and evil tendencies, paving way for spiritual awakening. The most important significance of Saptamatrka symbolism is the implication of the cyclical universal time and its cessation. In the standard versions, the cycle of periodic time ends with dissolution symbolized by Camunda. Camunda is also known as Camundi and Carcika.

Camunda is the destructive form of Devi (Candi); and is similar in appearance and habits to Kali. Devi Mahatmya recounts that in the course of her fight with demons Canda and Munda, Devi created from her forehead the terrible form of Camunda. Unlike other Matrikas, Camunda is an independent goddess. She is also praised as the fertility goddess of Vindhya Mountains She is also associated with Yama. The descriptions of Camunda are varied.

The Bhavanopanishad (9) recognizes Matrikas as eight types of un-favourable dispositions, such as: desire, anger, greed, delusion, pride, jealousy, demerit and merit. Tantra-raja-tantra (36; 15-16) expands on that and identifies Camunda with urge to sin (papa) and hurt (abhichara).

According to Khadgamala (vamachara) tradition of Sri Vidya, the eight Matrkas are located along the wall (four at the doors and four at the corners) guarding the city (Tripura) on all eight directions: Camunda on the South-east.

Source: Sreenivasarao's blog: Saptamatrka (part 4)
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा):—Sanskrit name of one of the twenty-four goddesses of the Sūryamaṇḍala (first maṇḍala of the Khecarīcakra) according to the kubjikāmata-tantra. The Khecarīcakra is the fifth cakra (‘internal mystic center’) of the five (pañcacakra) and is located on or above the head. She presides over the pītha (‘sacred site’) called Puṇḍravardhana.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra

Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा) is the name of one of the thirty-two Yakṣiṇīs mentioned in the Kakṣapuṭatantra. In the yakṣiṇī-sādhana, the Yakṣiṇī is regarded as the guardian spirit who provides worldly benefits to the practitioner. The Yakṣiṇī (eg., Cāmuṇḍā) provides, inter alia, daily food, clothing and money, tells the future, and bestows a long life, but she seldom becomes a partner in sexual practices.

Source: Yakṣiṇī-sādhana in the Kakṣapuṭa tantra
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Camunda in Purana glossary... « previous · [C] · next »

Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा) is a name of the Goddess Raudrī since she killed the asura king Ruru by severing his head (muṇḍa) from his trunk (carma), according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 96. Raudrī is the form of Trikalā having a black body representing the energy of Maheśvara (Śiva). Trikalā is the name of a Goddess born from the combined looks of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara (Śiva).

The Varāhapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 24,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 10th century. It is composed of two parts and Sūta is the main narrator.

Source: Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा) is the name of a mind-born ‘divine mother’ (mātṛ), created for the purpose of drinking the blood of the Andhaka demons, according to the Matsya-purāṇa 179.8. The Andhaka demons spawned out of every drop of blood spilled from the original Andhakāsura (Andhaka-demon). According to the Matsya-purāṇa 179.35, “Most terrible they (eg., Cāmuṇḍā) all drank the blood of those Andhakas and become exceedingly satiated.”

The Matsyapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 20,000 metrical verses, dating from the 1st-millennium BCE. The narrator is Matsya, one of the ten major avatars of Viṣṇu.

Source: Wisdom Library: The Matsya-purāṇa

Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा).—(See Pārvatī).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा) is another name for Śivā: the Goddess-counterpart of Śiva who incarnated first as Satī and then Pārvatī, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.1.16:—“[...] the great goddess Śivā is of the three natures. Śivā became Satī and Śiva married her. At the sacrifice of her father she cast off her body which she did not take again and went back to her own region. Śivā incarnated as Pārvatī at the request of the Devas. It was after performing a severe penance that she could attain Śiva again. Śivā came to be called by various names [such as Cāmuṇḍā,...]. These various names confer worldly pleasures and salvation according to qualities and action. The name Pārvatī is very common.

Source: Siva Purana - English Translation

1a) Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा).—A Śakti on the 9th parva of Cakrarājaratha.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 19. 7; 36. 58; 44. 87 and 111.

1b) A mind-born mother; image of, clothed in elephant skin.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 179. 10; 261. 37.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Vastushastra (architecture)

Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा).—An aspect of Durga in the posture of killing the demons Caṇḍa and Muṇḍa, according to the Purāṇas is called by the name Cāmuṇḍā. Generally only one body of the demon is carved at the feet of the Goddess.

In saptamātṛka group Cāmuṇḍā is not represented in the samhāra posture. She is just represented as sitting in the sukhāsana on a pedestal or in utkuṛitāsana. Of the three sculptures under discussion, two are from the saptamātṛka group and one is an independent relief of the goddess in the samhāra posture. She is eight-handed. The demon is lying below the feet of the goddess. There is a flame like kirīta for the goddess.

Source: Shodhganga: Temples of Salem region Up to 1336 AD
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा) refers to a particular form of Durgā and is the presiding deity of sucitra (‘extremely diverse’), according to the Saṅgītaśiromaṇi 67-84. Sucitra represents one of the sixteen words that together make up the elā musical composition (prabandha). Elā is an important subgenre of song and was regarded as an auspicious and important prabandha (composition) in ancient Indian music (gāndharva). According to nirukta analysis, the etymological meaning of elā can be explained as follows: a represents Viṣṇu, i represents Kāmadeva, la represents Lakṣmī.

Cāmuṇḍā is one of the sixteen deities presiding over the corresponding sixteen words of the elā-prabandha, all of which are defined in the Saṅgītaśiromaṇi (“crest-jewel of music”): a 15th-century Sanskrit work on Indian musicology (gāndharvaśāstra).

Source: Wisdom Library: Saṅgītaśiromaṇi
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Camunda refers to the seventh Matrka and is the shakthi of Devi (Candi). One of the descriptions of Camunda mention of her as a goddess of terrible countenance, black and scowling, with drawn sword and lasso, holding a Khatvanga, wearing a garland of severed heads  (munda-mala) suspended by their hair. Camunda is clad in a tiger skin, hungry and emaciated, mouth hideously distorted and the tongue protruding out. She sits upon a seat made of three skulls; and has a cadaver for footrest. She plucked off the heads of Canda and Munda and presented both heads to Kausiki. In other descriptions, a bear’s skin is tied over Camunda’s clinging skirt, with its head and legs dangling on her back. She wears the skin of an elephant as a cape and grasps two of the animal’s feet in her uppermost hands. In her other hands she brandishes an array of weapons and awe-inspiring objects.

Camunda is often depicted as dark in colour with very emaciated body, having three eyes, sunken belly and a terrifying face with a wide grin. Her hair is abundant and thick and bristles upwards. Her abode is under fig (oudumbara) tree. On her sunken chest, swings garland of skulls (mundamala) in the manner of a yajnopavita. She wears a very heavy jata-makuta formed of piled, matted hair tied with snakes or skull ornaments. Sometimes, a crescent moon is seen on her head. Her garment is the tiger skin.

Purva-karanagama mentions that Camunda, red in colour, should be depicted with wide open mouth set in a terrifying face having three eyes. Her socket eyes are described as burning like flames. She has a sunken belly; and, wears on her head the digit of the moon as Siva does. She has four arms. The black or red coloured Camunda is described as having four, eight, ten or twelve arms, holding a damaru (drum), trishula (trident), sword, a snake, skull-mace (khatvanga), thunderbolt, a severed head and panapatra (drinking vessel, wine cup) or skull-bowl (kapala), filled with blood, an urn of fire. She wears in her ears kundlas made of Conch shell (sankha-patra). Her vahana is an Owl; and the emblem of her banner an Eagle.

Vishnudharmottara describes Camunda as having a terrific face with powerful tusks and seated upon a male corpse. She has a very emaciated body and sunken eyes and ten hands. The belly of this goddess is thin and apparently empty. She carries in her ten hands: musala, kavaca, bana, ankusha, khadga, khetaka, dhanus, danda and parasu.


Source: Sreenivasarao's blog: Saptamatrka (part 4) (shilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Katha (narrative stories)

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Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा) is one of the epithets of Durgā, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 53. Accordingly, as Vīravara praised Durgā: “... thou art the principle of life in creatures; by thee this world moves. In the beginning of creation Śiva beheld thee self-produced, blazing and illuminating the world with brightness hard to behold, like ten million orbs of fiery suddenly produced infant suns rising at once, filling the whole horizon with the circle of thy arms, bearing a sword, a club, a bow, arrows and a spear. And thou wast praised by that god Śiva in the following words ... [Cāmuṇḍā, etc...]”.

Also, “... when Skanda, and Vasiṣṭha, and Brahmā, and the others heard thee praised, under these [eg., Cāmuṇḍā] and other titles, by Śiva well skilled in praising, they also praised thee. And by praising thee, O adorable one, immortals, Ṛṣis and men obtained, and do now obtain, boons above their desire. ”

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Cāmuṇḍā, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा) is the name of a Goddess (Devī) presiding over Pauṇḍravardhana: one of the twenty-four sacred districts mentioned in the 9th century Vajraḍākatantra (chapter 18). Her weapon is the khaṭvāṅga. Furthermore, Cāmuṇḍā is accompanied by the Kṣetrapāla (field-protector) named Kumbha.

Source: A Critical Study of the Vajraḍākamahātantrarāja (II)
Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा).—A terrific form of Durgā; Māl.5.25; (the word is thus derived; yasmāccaṇḍaṃ ca muṇḍaṃ ca gṛhītvā tvamupā- gatā | cāmuṇḍeti tato loke khyātā devī bhaviṣyasi ||).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Cāmuṇḍā (चामुण्डा).—f. (ṇḍā) 1. A terrific form of Durga. 2. One of the Matrikas. E. ca the moon, and muṇḍa the head, having a head like the moon; or for caṇḍa the name of a demon, and muṇḍa the skull; having seized the decapitated head of the demon: in either case the deriv. is irregular: see carmamuṇḍā &c.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

Search found 38 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Cāmuṇḍāmantra (चामुण्डामन्त्र).—Whoever is given a handful of flowers over which the C...
Kālī (काली) is another name for Śivā: the Goddess-counterpart of Śiva who incarnated first as S...
Mātṛ (मातृ) or Mātṛkā refers to a set of Goddesses.—As has been pointed out by Avalon in the In...
1) Śiva (शिव) refers to one of the eight names of Śiva (śivanāma) and is mentioned in the Śivap...
Mātṛkā (मातृका) is another name for Mātṛ, referring to a set of Mothers (Goddesses).—As has bee...
Amṛtā (अमृता) refers to one of the eight wisdoms (vidyās) described in the ‘śrī-amṛtakuṇḍalin-u...
Kumbha (कुम्भ) is the name of a Kṣetrapāla (field-protector) and together with Cāmuṇḍā Devī the...
Vāruṇi (वारुणि).—m. (-ṇiḥ) The saint Agastya. E. varuṇa Varuna, iñ aff. of descent.--- OR --- V...
Śānta (शान्त).—mfn. (-ntaḥ-ntā-ntaṃ) 1. Calm, tranquil, pacified. 2. Allayed, alleviated. 3. Me...
Carcikā (चर्चिका).—f. (-kā) 1. The goddess Durga. or Chamunda. 2. Cleaning the person with perf...
Elā (एला).—f. (-lā) Cardamoms, the seed of the Eletteria cardamomum, or Alpinia Cardamomum: it ...
Sāmara (“fan”) refers to one of the several “attributes” (āyudha) or “accessories” of a detiy c...
Drava (द्रव).—mfn. (-vaḥ-vā-vaṃ) 1. Dropping, oozing. 2. Flowing. 3. Fluid, liquid. 4. Fused, l...
Payoṣṇī (पयोष्णी).—A holy river. This river starts from the Vindhya mountains and flows to the ...
Pauṇḍravardhana (पौण्ड्रवर्धन) refers to one of the twenty-four sacred districts mentioned in t...

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